Bathroom training the cats
By Jean Brody
As you know, my two cats (“P” and Bella) and I live in an assisted living community. For the most part, the residents are self sufficient, even though many are in a wheelchair. When we need help with anything, we have a system to get it.
I have a long cord in three rooms of my little apartment. All I have to do if I want a resident assistant to come to my room immediately is pull that cord.
Now, my living space is “filled to the gills” with medical equipment, personal stuff and cat foods. I finally ran out of kitchen room so I put the two bags of cat food in the bathroom behind the toilet.
Forgive me but I have to brag. I have two of the smartest cats God ever created. They watch everything I do, where I do it and if it benefits them (mostly their stomachs), they flat out study the situation and learn to do whatever themselves.
P, my tuxedo cat, is a genius at this. Every time I entered the bathroom, here he came. It didn’t take long before he knew his food was back there, so he started climbing on stuff to try to get some dry food. Stupid me, to appease him I’d reach into the bag and give him a few right there on the floor.
Well, he liked that too much, so much that he only wanted to eat it on the bathroom floor! Lord have mercy, I had to take the bag out of there so I did. To my clothes closet it went where I could shut the darn door.
Then the mystery began. RAs began appearing at my door.
“Did you need me?” they asked.
“Nope, I didn’t pull the cord,” I answered.
Again, a while later,”Jean, what can I help you with?”
“Listen,” I laughed, “Thanks but no thanks. The system must be broken. I did not call you.”
What in the world was going on? My curiosity was tweaked, so I began to notice P was spending an awful lot of time in the bathroom. After spending too much time sitting on the toilet to watch my cat, the mystery was solved.
Picture this and I swear as it is the truth. There was my P standing on his hind legs behind the toilet exactly where the bag of cat food used to be. His sleek black body was stretched and both front legs were wrapped tightly around the call cord and he was yanking it up and down. Of course, this set the alarm for an RA to come to help him.
Can you imagine a cat figuring all this out? He had, for years now, seen me pull a cord for a RA to come every evening to refill my vaporizer for me. So he knew to pull a cord for help and poor, starving, neglected P put it all together to get food.
Listen, I even asked an RA to come in and witness this because no cat could be so smart. He still goes into the bathroom with me and still looks for the big bag of food but the pulling of the call cord he’s given in to eating in the kitchen next to Bella.
Of course, Bella is even smarter. She just waits until P finishes all he wants of his food and walks and she just switches bowls and eats all of his he left.
Cats never cease to amaze me.
The view from the mountains is wondrous.
Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.